Common Sense:Accountability Doesn't Apply to Clinton

"I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since." — William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, 24 September 2006

Washington, D.C. — Now there's a passage for the next edition of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations"! It was a stunning, blatant confession — made in the midst of a heated exchange on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace — that as President, Mr. Clinton sanctioned the assassination of Usama bin Laden. To put this little piece of braggadocio in context, it should be noted that no other American Head of State — sitting or former — has ever before admitted to such a serious violation of law. Though assassination is specifically forbidden as a course of action open to U.S. officials, including Presidents, no one seems to have taken notice — perhaps because they were so caught up with the theater of what was happening on the screen, and not listening to the words being said.

Over the course of the past week there is hardly a talk show in America that hasn't run the tape of the Clinton tirade and then proffered instant analysis of the former President's performance. One jabber-jawed host even asked a guest after playing the clip from FOX News Sunday, "Who won that exchange between Wallace and Clinton?" as if he were interviewing the judges at the Friday Night Fights.

Yet, not one of the "experts" has, as yet, observed that in all of this, the biggest losers weren't on screen — it's the American people. The tape of a former president, arrogantly proclaiming on international television that he personally authorized the killing of a foreign foe may be great stuff for the screenplay of "Rambo V," but it's specifically forbidden by U.S. and international law. Over the course of fighting the jihad being waged against us, Mr. Clinton's intemperate words will come back to haunt us many times over. And of course, he won't be the one to pay the price.

Watch War Stories with Oliver North on Sunday, 8pm / 11pm ET: "From the Ballpark to the Battlefield: Baseball and World War II"

Apparently neither violations of law nor increasing the vulnerability of the American people seem to matter much to Mr. Clinton, his political cronies or his allies in the media. The silence has been deafening from the barons of bombast and political potentates who went nuts last year when Rev. Pat Robertson suggested that Venezuela's tin-horn dictator Hugo Chavez should be "eliminated." Then, there were calls for an investigation of Dr. Robertson, but not so for Bill Clinton.

For the record, Mr. Clinton proudly claimed to have broken a long series of U.S. law:

• Executive Order 11905, signed February 18, 1976, by President Gerald Ford in response to the Church Committee. Section 5(g) of that order states that "no employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."

• Section 2-305 of Executive Order 12036, signed by President Jimmy Carter on January 24, 1978, broadens the prohibition from "political assassination" to "assassination" generally.

• Executive Order 12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981, specifies that assassination is against the law and contrary to U.S. policy. Section 2.11 of the Order, labeled, "Prohibition on Assassination" says that "no person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." The next section (Section 2.12) states that "no agency of the Intelligence Community shall participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this Order."

Without hubris, I must acknowledge that I wrote, "staffed" and presented Executive Order 12333 to President Reagan for his signature. I was asked then — and have been many times since — if I thought such a prohibition was important. I did then, and I do now. Since no Chief Executive has ever rescinded them, it seemed as though they did too, up until Mr. Clinton's petulant outburst.

Ordering the assassination of a foreign national is arguably more important than lying about a tryst with an intern in the Oval Office. So where is the "shock and awe" from human rights standard bearers who still complain about the so-called abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay? Do they not care that Mr. Clinton ordered an assassination?

Where are John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter, and Colin Powell now? If we want the world to know our prisoners of war are accorded protection under the Geneva Conventions, don't we also want the world to know we don't engage in assassination?

And since presidential findings — orders for the CIA to conduct covert operations — are all highly classified, shouldn't those who reveal them be held accountable?

Ah, there's that word again — "accountable." It doesn't apply to Bill Clinton.

Watch War Stories with Oliver North on Sunday, 8pm / 11pm ET: "From the Ballpark to the Battlefield: Baseball and World War II"

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the Host of "War Stories" on the FOX News Channel.

Lt. Col. Oliver L. North (ret.) serves as host of the Fox News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." From 1983 to 1986, he served as the U.S. government's counterterrorism coordinator on the National Security Council staff. "Counterfeit Lies," is his novel about how Iran is acquiring nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. Click here for more information on Oliver North